Legal review: 6 steps to a successful FY17/18

From Kristy Dobson, McKays Solicitors

Cheers to a new financial year! Now that we’ve all celebrated and recovered, it is time to get down to business and put in place goals for a successful 2017/2018 financial year.

Here are our top legal tips to put you in the best possible position to succeed this financial year, and beyond.

1.    Have your terms of trade and credit application reviewed

Your terms of trade and/or credit application are essential in setting the terms for your dealings with customers and suppliers. It is crucial that these documents are up to date, so that you are in the best possible legal position, in the unfortunate event of a dispute arising.

2.    Do you have in place a Shareholders or Partnership Agreement with your fellow business owners?

We cannot stress enough the importance of having one of these agreements in place if you have a business partner. If you and your business partner aren’t getting along, and he or she wants out, an agreement of this sort will set the terms on how this process is to work. Otherwise, a costly and time-consuming dispute can ensue!

3.    Have your employee agreements and/or subcontractor agreement been recently reviewed?

These agreements need regular reviewing, and updating as necessary. For example, is the position and duties for the particular employee still accurate? Does the agreement comply with current legislation? Do any restraints need to be added, or updated? Does the agreement adequately deal with the business’ policies, which are likely to regularly change?

4.    Review and, if needed, update your will!

Your personal situation, financial position and your wishes change over time. Not only that, but tax laws also regularly change, which affects what you can/cannot do with your estate. Certain other entitlements, such as superannuation, may also not be dealt with by your will so it is necessary to get appropriate advice in this regard.

5.    Implement a plan for your debt collection and, if necessary, get it under control

You need a plan in place to deal with customers who do not pay you in accordance with your payment terms. For example, do you send out reminder letters, say 7 days after payment was due? What is step 2 to recover the amount? When do you pass onto a lawyer for further help?

There are a number of options to pursue debts, such as issuing a statutory demand, entering into a Deed of Acknowledgment of Debt documenting a repayment arrangement, using the Building Constructions and Industry Payments Act regime, or through the Qld Civil and Administrative Tribunal, or Courts system.

6.    Build a circle of trust around you

Continue to keep your legal advisor, accountant and insurance broker updated with your business to ensure everyone is on the same page about what business’ needs and if anything needs to be changed. Having a trusted circle of advisors surrounding you is key to your business’ long-term success.